Environment

Where We Live
9:00 am
Fri May 16, 2014

Everything You Want to Know About Turtles

Red-eared slider.
Catie Talarski

There are currently some 57 turtle species living in the United States and Canada, 12 of which can be found right here in Connecticut -- including some sea turtles!

Chances are, you’ve probably seen a few of them poking around a nearby pond or basking on some sunlit rocks. Perhaps you’ve even rescued a few from the peril of oncoming traffic.

But there’s a lot more to these terrestrial critters than meets the eye.

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California
2:14 pm
Thu May 15, 2014

Wildfires In San Diego County Continue To Rage Out Of Control

Residents photograph the burning ruins of their home in Carlsbad, Calif., that was destroyed in the Poinsettia fire, one of nine wildfires that have erupted in San Diego County.
David McNew Getty Images

Originally published on Thu May 15, 2014 10:26 pm

Updated at 10:20 p.m. ET.:

Authorities in San Diego County ordered additional evacuations Thursday afternoon as a wildfire began "making an extreme run," as one state fire captain said.

The Associated Press is reporting that a badly burned body found in a transient camp in Carlsbad is the first reported fatality from the wildfires. The city says it had no information about person who died.

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WAMC News
10:37 am
Thu May 15, 2014

Job Training Planned In Springfield Neighborhoods Hit By 2011 Tornado

The South End Community Center was destroyed by the tornado on June 1, 2011. People in the neighborhood will get job training funded by a federal disaster recovery grant

Originally published on Wed May 14, 2014 7:47 pm

The city of Springfield, Massachusetts is soliciting bids from organizations to do workforce training in poor neighborhoods hit by the tornado three years ago.

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Transportation
3:05 am
Thu May 15, 2014

Across The U.S., Bicycle Commuting Picks Up Speed

The ranks of bicycle commuters are growing, though men are almost three times more likely than women to ride to work.
Tobias Ackeborn iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu May 15, 2014 10:55 am

As bicycling goes, America is far behind Copenhagen, the promised land where roads look like bicycle highways as people pedal to work. But commuting by bike in the U.S. is catching on — though geographic, income and gender disparities persist.

In Chicago, busy Sheridan Road is the start of the Lakefront bike trail on its north side. That's where you can find plenty of bicyclists commuting to work early in the morning.

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Rick In Space
1:37 pm
Wed May 14, 2014

Rick Mastracchio Ends Six-Month Journey In Space

Rick Mastracchio during a Christmas Eve spacewalk outside the ISS.
NASA

Waterbury astronaut Rick Mastracchio has returned from a six month journey aboard the International Space Station. During 188 days in space, the UConn graduate orbited Earth more than 3,000 times, traveling nearly 79.8 million miles.

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Eel of Fortune
10:26 am
Tue May 13, 2014

Could a Glass Eel Gold Rush Come to Connecticut?

Glass eels have prompted a gold rush in recent years, with worldwide shortages pushing prices as high as $800 per pound in 2014.
Uwe Kils Creative Commons

A bill headed to Governor Dannel Malloy's desk could establish a fishing season for glass eels in Connecticut. Glass eels are a juvenile species of the American eel, about as long as your pinky finger, and called "glass" because of their translucent skin.

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Climate Change
5:19 pm
Mon May 12, 2014

Melting Of Antarctic Ice Sheet Might Be Unstoppable

Originally published on Mon May 12, 2014 6:31 pm

Scientists have long worried about climate change-induced melting of the huge West Antarctic Ice Sheet. Now they say that not only is the disintegration of the ice already underway, but that it's likely unstoppable.

That means that in the coming centuries, global sea levels will rise by anywhere from 4 to 12 feet. As NPR's Nell Greenfieldboyce reports, that's a larger increase than the United Nations expert panel noted last year. But it would occur over a longer time frame — centuries instead of decades.

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Transportation
12:16 pm
Mon May 12, 2014

More Cyclists Can Now Call AAA For Help

Cyclists can now call AAA and other groups for help when they run into trouble during a ride. Here, cyclists ride near the White House in Washington, D.C., last autumn.
Mladen Antonov AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon May 12, 2014 3:23 pm

It's not going to change its name anytime soon, but auto membership club AAA is increasingly in the business of fixing bikes and giving rides to cyclists who run into trouble. AAA clubs in Colorado and Southern New England announced the new service in time for this week's Bike to Work Day, following the lead of other regional auto clubs.

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Climate Change
9:06 am
Fri May 9, 2014

Could Climate Change Spread Ticks and Mosquitoes In Connecticut?

Around 30 million people in the Northeast could be exposed to West Nile virus-carrying mosquitoes by the end of the century.
James Gathany CDC/ National Climate Assessment

Climate change is linked to more floods, hotter and drier weather, and melting sea ice, but it could also affect infectious diseases like Lyme disease and West Nile Virus. The problem is we don't know how.

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WAMC News
4:46 pm
Tue May 6, 2014

Hudson River PCB Dredging Resumes Wednesday

Workers use excavators with environmental clamshell buckets mounted on flat, anchored platforms to dredge the river. The PCB-contaminated sediment is emptied onto 35-foot-wide, 195-foot-long floating barges.

Originally published on Tue May 6, 2014 12:32 pm

The Environmental Protection Agency has announced that dredging of the upper Hudson River to remove PCB’s will resume Wednesday.

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Nuclear Power
3:47 pm
Tue May 6, 2014

Dominion Studies Running Millstone Reactors Another 20 Years

The Millstone Power Station in Waterford, which includes two nuclear units operated by Dominion Resources, Inc.
Credit Northeast Utilities

Dominion Resources is looking at extending the life span of its nuclear power reactors in Virginia and Connecticut for another 20 years.

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Cosmos And Culture
1:51 pm
Tue May 6, 2014

Habitable Planets May Not Look Exactly Like The Earth

Gliese 581e (foreground) is part of a system of planets around a red dwarf sun that may include a body orbiting in the habitable zone.
L. Calçada/Illustration ESO

Originally published on Tue May 6, 2014 6:24 pm

When I was a kid we had Star Trek reruns showing twice a day. These were, without a doubt, the most important hours of my day. One thing that came from watching the Enterprise zoom around the galaxy so much was the recognition that there were a whole lot of "class M planets" out there. Back in the day it was never clear (to me) exactly what a class M planet was, but in general, it seemed to be a place you could beam down to and not explode, be crushed or breathe poisoned air.

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Climate Change
9:08 am
Tue May 6, 2014

New Report Finds Climate Change Already Having Broad Impact

People survey the damage on Scenic Highway in Pensacola, Fla., after part of it collapsed following heavy rains and flash flooding on April 30.
Marianna Massey Getty Images

Originally published on Tue May 6, 2014 11:22 am

A new U.S. government report released Tuesday finds that climate change is already having a broad impact on both weather and the economy.

NPR's Elizabeth Shogren tells our Newscast unit the third National Climate Assessment is the most comprehensive look at climate change that the government has ever produced. It was put together by more than 300 experts "guided by a 60-member Federal Advisory Committee."

She filed this report for our Newscast unit:

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Biomaterials
7:50 am
Tue May 6, 2014

Under a New Composting Law, Companies Flock to Southington

An anaerobic digester in New Mexico, at the Jarratt Dairy. It has a discharge pipe that feeds into a wetland.
U.S. Department of Agriculture

A law that went into effect in January requires certain businesses to recycle their food waste. So far, two companies have emerged with high-tech composting plans to help process that waste and they both want to do it in the same town: Southington.

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WAMC News
10:41 am
Mon May 5, 2014

Documentary Film Looks At Teenagers’ Efforts To Adapt To Climate Change

Originally published on Sun May 4, 2014 1:17 pm

Experts agree that climate change is a global problem. A documentary film company in our region planned to look at how Adirondack communities are adapting to climate change. But  the film’s producer changed his focus after encountering high school students at a Youth Climate Summit.

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Linking Town and School
9:56 am
Mon May 5, 2014

UConn Is Planning a New Gateway to Storrs Campus

Storrs Center in Mansfield is a town center and main street corridor development that includes residences and retail shops.
BL Companies erland.com

The University of Connecticut is planning a campus entrance near its Storrs Center development that officials said will link the town and the school.

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Sustainability
1:53 pm
Fri May 2, 2014

Tracking International Progress for a More Sustainable Future

United Nations Secretariat and General Assembly
Credit Jeffrey Zeldman / Creative Commons

Next week, the United Nations’ Open Working Group will convene in New York to continue negotiating a set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These SDGs -- focused on  issues such as gender equality, health, education, poverty, climate change, and biodiversity  -- are intended to drive social, economic, and environmental development on an international scale. They will also serve as a continuation of the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which expire in 2015.

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Newfoundland
2:25 pm
Wed April 30, 2014

A Whale Of A Problem: Town Faces Threat Of Exploding Carcass

A blue whale carcass washed up last week in Trout River, Newfoundland, Canada.
Don Bradshaw Courtesy of Don Bradshaw/NTV News

Originally published on Thu May 1, 2014 10:04 am

People of the small Canadian town of Trout River, Newfoundland, have a big problem that just might blow up in their faces: what to do with a giant blue whale carcass that washed up on the beach and that some say threatens to spontaneously combust.

The 80-foot-long whale appeared on the beach in the town of about 600 people a week ago. Since then, the mass of rotting blubber has become bloated with combustible methane gas and, to put it delicately, is "emitting a powerful stench."

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Rivers
1:48 pm
Mon April 28, 2014

What Gets Flushed Into Rivers as More Rain Hits the Northeast?

The color of rivers is one indicator of the amount of dissolved organic matter.
Nicholas A. Tonelli Creative Commons

Connecticut and the Northeast region have gotten a lot more rain over the years. A report from the National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration found a 67 percent increase since 1958, more than any other part of the country.

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Fracking Waste
12:12 pm
Mon April 28, 2014

What Connecticut Stands to Gain (and Lose) From Fracking

Water tanks preparing for a fracking job.
Joshua Doubek Creative Commons

Connecticut lawmakers are considering a ban of waste from “fracking,” the controversial method of obtaining natural gas cheaply. This comes less than a year after the state approved a major expansion of its natural gas infrastructure to capitalize on production in nearby states. Now, some are wondering whether Connecticut can avoid the environmental risks of the fracking boom.

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Severe Weather
6:35 am
Mon April 28, 2014

Killer Tornadoes Rip Through Arkansas, Oklahoma

Travel trailers and motor homes were piled on top of each other at Mayflower RV in Mayflower, Ark., on Sunday after tornadoes carved through the central and southern U.S.
Danny Johnston AP

Originally published on Mon April 28, 2014 1:55 pm

This post was updated at 1:53 p.m. ET

Emergency officials were searching Monday for survivors after tornadoes tore through parts of Arkansas and Oklahoma overnight, killing at least 14 people and leveling entire neighborhoods.

"We don't have a count on injuries or missing. We're trying to get a handle on the missing part," Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe said at a news conference Monday. "Just looking at the damage, this may be one of the strongest we have seen."

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Supersymmetry
10:31 am
Sat April 26, 2014

Are Physicists Ready To Give Up The Chase For SUSY?

The Large Hadron Collider's ATLAS detector under construction in 2005. ATLAS is one of the tools physicists are using to try and understand how the universe works.
Maximilien Brice CERN

Originally published on Sat April 26, 2014 9:58 am

Is physics in crisis? An article in the May issue of Scientific American by physicists Joseph Lykken, from Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, and Maria Spiropulu, from the California Institute of Technology, lay bare an issue that is keeping a growing number of physicists up at night.

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Agriculture
12:27 pm
Fri April 25, 2014

Got My Goat? Vermont Farms Put Fresh Meat On Refugee Tables

Theoneste Rwayitare, a Rwandan refugee who resettled in Vermont last year, pours powdered milk into a bucket for milking at the Vermont Goat Collaborative's Pine Island Farm.
Angela Evancie for NPR

Originally published on Fri May 2, 2014 11:47 am

It's easy to find goat milk and goat cheese in Vermont. Goat meat, not so much.

That's frustrating for the refugees, immigrants and others who've settled in the state who are accustomed to eating fresh goat meat. Though it's not so common in the U.S., it's a mainstay in many African, Asian and Caribbean diets.

But there's a movement afoot to meet the demand for goat meat throughout New England.

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Mystery Hybrid
10:39 am
Fri April 25, 2014

DNA Results: Controversial "Wolfdogs" in Connecticut Have No Wolf Ancestors

A Czechoslovakian wolfdog, a relatively new breed of dog from Eastern Europe. It is a cross between a German Shepherd and a Eurasian wolf.
Sonja Pauen Creative Commons

Connecticut environmental officials said DNA tests on samples from seven animals in North Stonington showed that they are domestic dogs with no recent wolf ancestors.

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Vermont
1:07 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

Bracing For A Battle, Vermont Passes GMO Labeling Bill

A customer shops for produce at the Hunger Mountain Co-op in April 2013 in Montpelier, Vt. More than a dozen food cooperatives supported the bill that would require the labeling of genetically modified foods.
Toby Talbot AP

Originally published on Thu April 24, 2014 1:46 pm

The Green Mountain State is poised to become the first to require food companies to label products containing genetically modified ingredients.

Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin tweeted he will sign a bill state lawmakers passed Wednesday mandating that foods with GMOs be labeled as having been produced with "genetic engineering." The bill would also make it illegal for foods with GMOs to be labeled "all natural" or "natural."

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Rick In Space
12:25 pm
Wed April 23, 2014

Rick Mastracchio Completes Successful Spacewalk

Mastraccio will make repairs to the exterior of the International Space Station with Steve Swanson at 9:20 am ET.
NASA

Waterbury native Rick Mastracchio completed a short spacewalk to replace a failed computer outside of the International Space Station on Wednesday. The airlock was re-pressurized starting at 11:32 am ET, signifying the excursion's end time.

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South Carolina
4:30 am
Wed April 23, 2014

Race To Unearth Civil War-Era Artifacts Before Developer Digs In

Archaeologist Chester DePratter stands by the site of Camp Asylum, a Civil War-era prison, in Columbia, S.C. The site will soon be cleared to make room for a mixed-use development.
Susanne Schafer AP

Originally published on Wed April 23, 2014 9:52 am

About a dozen archaeologists in downtown Columbia, S.C., are focused on a 165-acre sliver of land that was a prisoner of war camp during the Civil War. Last summer, the property was sold, and the group is trying to recover artifacts before a developer builds condos and shops there.

"We're out here to salvage what we can in advance of that development," says Chester DePratter, a University of South Carolina archaeologist. Time is running out: DePratter and his team have a permit to excavate until April 30.

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Connecticut Legislature
3:03 pm
Tue April 22, 2014

Legislative Committee Approves Wind Power Siting Regulations

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New wind energy projects can now move forward in Connecticut. Tuesday's announcement ends a three-year moratorium on wind turbines. 

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Quadrennial Review!
10:59 am
Tue April 22, 2014

U.S. Secretary of Energy Visits Hartford

Ernest Moniz is the U.S. Secretary of Energy. He visited Hartford Monday.
Credit Department of Energy

America's top energy official just came to Hartford. He was seeking input on New England's energy problems.

Ernest Moniz is working to craft the holy grail of U.S. energy policy. He's doing it, he said, by "bringing together colleagues across the government to look at energy in the context of our economic aspirations, our environmental concerns, and our security concerns."

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Tue April 22, 2014

Bringing Manufacturing Jobs Back to Connecticut

John Dankosky speaks with (from left) Chris Murphy, Kris Lorch, and Sonny Morneault.
Lydia Brown WNPR

This hour, we kick off our year-long Made in Connecticut series with a conversation about keeping jobs in and bringing jobs back to Connecticut. Last week, Senator Chris Murphy joined us, along with WNPR’s Harriet Jones, and some folks from the local manufacturing industry, to take an in-depth look at the present and future of manufacturing in our state.

Can our state be home to a boom of reshored jobs? How can we keep the skilled manufacturing jobs we already have?

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